solo traveling

Seven Things Solo Travel Teaches You

by YASH GOYAL

I still remember the feeling of travelling solo for the first time.I was excited and nervous at the same time but also I was worried that I would get lonely or lost or just downright hate being on my own but the world was waiting, and i was about to meet it all by myself. Seven Things Solo Travel Teaches You

It’s true that travel is not perfect. Not all days are good and you WILL likely get lost and lonely and ill at some point. But you will also experience moments of such complete happiness and clarity that they will make all the low times absolutely worthwhile.

The fact that traveling the world alone has taught me a lot.

Seven Things Solo Travel Teaches You
man with red hiking backpack facing body of water and mountains at daytime

Independence

My biggest solo trip turned out to be my best one. In 2018, I went to Udaipur. I didn’t know a single person in that state. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t traveled solo.

Traveling by myself has taught me things I couldn’t learn anywhere else. I learned how I like to spend my time, self-reliance, and I learned that I could go (just about) anywhere and do (just about) anything. And no one can take that knowledge or independence from me. It’s freedom.

Being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely

Loneliness is something many would-be solo travelers worry about – and I worried about it, too! I worried that I would get homesick, or that my introverted ways would lead to me feeling lonely on the road. But here’s what I’ve learned from a lot of solo trips: traveling alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll feel lonely. I found that I actually enjoy my own company and the complete freedom to do exactly what I want, when I want. Seven Things Solo Travel Teaches You Seven Things Solo Travel Teaches You

If you’re really worried about not enjoying travel on your own, join a small group trip like the ones Intrepid offers. This is a great compromise since you can still travel on your own, but you’ll have a built-in group of people to hang out with.

What You Want to Be When You Grow Up

More likely than not, traveling solo will help your career. New experiences open doors. You might stumble across a place or activity that changes your entire direction. Or you’ll meet someone you might want to collaborate with in the future. The world’s a small place, and travelers tend to find each other. You have time to get to know yourself, to reflect, to be momentarily free of criticism and competition. Learning to listen to—and trust—my own voice, away from distractions and pressure, bettered my writing.

You are never too old or too young to travel

If you’re reading this thinking “I’ve waited too long and can’t possibly start traveling now,” or “I’m way too young to travel on my own,” I’m here to tell you that travel really doesn’t have age limits. I know people who travel with newborn babies, and have been on tours with people in their 70s and 80s.

Whether you’re a twenty-something trying to figure out what to do with your life or an empty-nester looking for a new adventure, I think solo travel is right for you.

How to Make Friends

All that being said about loneliness, you will meet people on your journey. Traveling alone forces us outside of our comfort zones, which makes us more receptive to new people and experiences. And solo travelers are less intimidating and more approachable than groups.

On some trips you’ll have interesting conversations with people you’ll never speak to again, which is fine. Some people can remain fond memories. On other trips, you’ll make friends—like-minded creatures you’ve impatiently been waiting to meet all your life. I’ve made some of my best and longest-lasting friendships on my solo trips. These are people with backgrounds and experiences so different to my own, only travel could have crossed our paths.

Here are a few tips on breaking the ice:

  • Put down the phone and pick up a book. I’ve never been approached with a phone or electronic device in hand. I am regularly interrupted (sometimes annoyingly so) while engrossed in a book.
  • Arrange a “group” solo travel experience. Sign up for a day tour or weekend side trip with a group of people you’ve never met. It’s easier to turn strangers into friends in a small group.
  • Focus on eating, not drinking. Stay at a B&B for the group breakfasts, or have dinner at the bar. Eating is a communal experience, and people respond to that. Cocktail hour is a more difficult dynamic to break into as most people are out with established groups of friends.

The world is vast and small at the same time

The more I travel, the more I realize that there’s still so much of the world left to see.

The world is indeed huge, but you’ll find connections and those “small world” moments everywhere if you take the time to look. This goes back to my point about people being largely the same no matter where they come from. If you open yourself up to the world and its people, you’ll find it easy to make connections that will turn into lasting memories.

Overall, travel is my favorite type of learning. It’s hands-on and unpredictable, and has taught me so much about both myself and the wider world. Travel (and especially solo travel) has taught me to cherish the highs and learn from the lows. It’s taught me to reconsider nearly every stereotype I’ve ever been exposed to. And it’s taught me how to be myself and embrace life to its fullest.

The idea of traveling alone can be daunting, I know. But it’s such a rewarding and enriching experience that I challenge you to overcome the fear and give it a try.

I am stronger, more confident, and more capable than I knew

Being nervous about traveling solo is normal. But if you can calm the nerves and give it a try, it’s a really rewarding experience. Not only has traveling solo taught me a lot about the world, but it’s taught me a lot about myself, too. I’ve learned that I CAN take care of myself, even in foreign countries where I don’t know anyone and even when things go wrong.

Solo travel has undeniably made me a totally different person , more confident and independent person. The pre-trip nervousness has never completely gone away, but now I know I can handle just about anything that gets thrown at me on the road.

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